And What I Think About It... History and Old Stuff...
After reading two anecdotes and a revealing excerpt of poetry about Robert Frost on Michael Leddy's Orange Crate Art, I will never read a Frost poem casually again. A suspicion that Robert Frost may have been a sour little man will always be at the back of my mind, and I'll be sensitive to traces of bitterness underlying his words.
I have never read a biography of Robert Frost (March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963) or anything about his personal life, and I've never taken a class where Frost poetry was taught, but I'm curious now.
Robert Frost recited a poem at the John F. Kennedy inauguration (January 20, 1961.) He was an old man then, and I was ten years old. I have read that he began to read the poem and his eyes failed him, so he recited it. We didn't have television at that time, so I didn't see it personally. I didn't know who Robert Frost was, but I remember my mother commenting about a poet at the inauguration. As I recall, she thought the Kennedys were trying to be artsy and it wasn't necessary.
Schlesinger [Arthur M. Schlesinger, the historian and close Kennedy associate] continues with the observation that J.F.K. understood and was extremely sympathetic to his wife's leanings. His own tastes ran to architecture and literature and he asked Robert Frost to read a poem at his inauguration. He also requested that leading artists and writers be invited to the inauguration, which rankled the Inauguration Committee a bit. Kennedy won that battle and about 57 writers, composers and painters were present in the audience, including Robert Lowell, W.H. Auden and John Steinbeck, who remarked "What a joy that literacy is no longer prima facie evidence of treason." The stage was set for a new frontier in the arts as well as politics with the ascent of the Kennedys to the American Presidency.
Source: "Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years" by Michele Leight in The City Review
I have an image in my mind of a little white haired man in a black overcoat at the inauguration. It may be based on a Life Magazine photo. Life Magazine and the National Geographic were the main magazines in which I saw photographs as a child. I looked at each issue so many times that I commited most of the photographs to memory.